Canada Goldenrod: Much Maligned and Misjudged

The Canada goldenrod is scientifically known as Solidago Canadensis. Other common names of the flower are Giant Goldenrod, Tall Goldenrod, and Rough.

The plant has a bad reputation for causing allergy symptoms during the summer. However, the culprit for hay fever is wind-pollinated plants, which this goldenrod is not. The bountiful swarm of insects found on this species is a testament to this.

This is a herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. They typically bloom between July and September. The plant can reach a height of 6 feet and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

The Canadian goldenrod can be found in all parts of Canada, except for Nunavut. It is widespread along swampy shorelines, fencerows, forest edges, and even compost piles.

Flowers form in pyramid-shaped clusters consisting of 9-17 ray flowers surrounding a fewer number of disk flowers. Ray flowers are described as narrow, lingual, and female. Disk flowers are funnel-shaped and androgynous. The leaves alternate on the stem, growing to be 4″- 6″ long and 1″ wide. Leaves are lance-shaped with sharp teeth around the edges. They are three-nerved and roughly the same size. Because they lack stalks, their bases are attached to the stem of the plant.

Their wide distribution has led to significant varying characteristics in local ecotypes.

The plant tends to grow better in areas that have suffered a disturbance. They require minimum care. The ideal soil for cultivation should be one that is well-drained. Goldenrods need minimum moisture but full sunshine. They are drought resistant. Be sure to divide the clumps every 4-5 years.

The flower and its leaves are edible. In fact, the seeds are great for thickening soups! The plant is also known to be medicinal. Some medicinal benefits of the Canadian goldenrod are asthma prevention and treatment for fever, fungal infection and inflammation of the mouth.

Food lovers may be glad to know that the plant can be brewed as a tea. So this plant really does get a bad rap, given that it is speciously known for causing hayfever.

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